UNDATED (LEARFIELD) – The state’s first case of West Nile virus in a horse indicates the mosquitoes that carry the disease are in west central Minnesota.

“Horse infections would serve as kind of a canary in the coal mine of the potential of human cases in the same region,” said State Board of Animal Health veterinarian Dr. Brian Hoefs. “We know the mosquitoes that area carrying the virus infected the horse and there’s obviously people taking care of that horse.”

The virus isn’t transmissible from horses to humans, but infected mosquitoes could also transmit it to humans directly.

“We typically work jointly with the Minnesota Department of Health to contact the humans in this case to make sure that they’re aware of the risk to their health and things they can do to try to keep the mosquitoes at bay that would potentially pass this virus on to humans as well,” said Hoefs.

Doctor Hoefs (HAYFS) says they follow up with people at the boarding facility to make sure no one has been infected.  He says they expect a handful of equine cases this time of year.